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Michigan Retailers Association’s Annual Buy Nearby Weekend is Oct. 2-4

Shoppers encouraged to enter photo contest, get deals at participating retailers

Retail businesses across the state will celebrate Buy Nearby Weekend on Oct. 2-4, offering special merchandise or sales and the chance for one lucky shopper to win a $500 gift card by posting a photo while shopping local with the #buynearbymi hashtag.

It’s all part of the Michigan Retailers Association’s (MRA) year-round Buy Nearby campaign that encourages shoppers to keep their money in the Mitten!

Sadly, shoppers this year won’t bump into the Buy Nearby Guy mascot, the 8-foot-tall representation of a shopping bag in the shape of Michigan. The popular mascot is biding his time at his Lansing home, hoping an end to the pandemic will allow him to venture out in 2021. Typically, he visits several towns during the weekend to help spread the word about the power that consumers have when they spend their shopping dollars locally.

Michiganders typically send $18.5 billion to out-of-state retailers, according to a 2018 economic study by Public Sector Consultants showed. But if they changed just one in 10 of their purchases to a Michigan store, our economy would get a $1.2 billion boost and nearly 10,600 more jobs.

“Supporting downtown stores is more important than ever during the pandemic,” said MRA President and CEO Bill Hallan. “No amount of shopping online for convenience and saving a few pennies is worth looking at empty storefronts in your downtown.”

As an extra incentive to buy nearby, one shopper will earn a $500 gift card. Just take a selfie shopping at a local store or a photo of your purchase during the weekend; post it to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #buynearbymi and you’re automatically entered. The winner will be chosen the following week in a random drawing. (Must be 18 or older to win; be sure your post is “public”). For a complete description of contest rules, visit our photo contest page.

Retailers can request a free packet of Buy Nearby Weekend materials by emailing Materials included in the free packet are posters, bag stuffers, coloring books, shopping bags and photo contest cards. To ensure delivery of your free packet before Buy Nearby Weekend, please request one by Sept. 20, 2020.

With 116,000 stores, Michigan’s retail industry employs about 877,000 workers and pays $21.6 billion in wages each year. That’s the direct impact. Indirectly, retailers purchase goods and services, such as cleaning services, security staff, accountants and more. And their employees spend money as well, the Public Sector Consultants study noted.

Additional information is available on the web at and You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @BuyNearbyMI and on Instagram @mibuynearby.

The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of Michigan’s retail industry, representing nearly 5,000 members and their 15,000 stores and websites. You can get more information at

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